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I cleaned the bathroom and the toilet 

felt relieved that I had cut nails yesterday 

but now my fingertips look swollen and bald 

From nowhere a clip of skin came off from right hand’s index finger 

I let it hang for a while 

Picked up, emptied up polythenes from the table 

which welcome everything 

rotten vegetables, clothes, masks, half eaten biscuit packets 

Threw the cauliflower with mould on its head 

a parallel sneaked in my silence— 

bougainvillea wig over a tree-top 

My mother was washing clothes 

I was silent and cleaning 

dreaded if my anger would escape my lips 

and perch upon my mother’s heart 

It was her work to clean the table, bathroom, toilet, wash-basins, 

kitchen, flooding-eroding-cabinets 

I knew it was not her work 

I kept silent, cleaned and wondered if it’s my work 

or my father’s 

As I scrubbed the floor 

As the sponge struck the wall 

As something watery full of disgust and filth and stench

came flying at me 

I knew I hated it 

I stopped for the disgust that banged on my head 

I stopped for this was not the first time I was cleaning 

I stopped for this won’t be the last, Sisyphean work 

Water Soap Towel, I loved them 

for wiping away the momentary disgust and mess

fingers that shovelled blocks of rice in my mouth 

had felt through the sticky mass of hair jammed in the basin 

that stickiness had resemblance to the slime 

that grew over the stems of the flowers 

I bought three weeks ago 

They are there in the bottle with three weeks old pungent water 

I have thrown three flowers, three are left 

My mother has washed two loads of clothes, two are left

 I have hung one load of clothes to dry, one is left 

At 1:30, mummy made fritters 

Ask why? 

Because I did extra work

Tripti Aggarwal is a PhD scholar working on the dynamics of household labour in Indian society. Her other areas of interest include disability and postcolonial studies. Besides academic interests, she likes to learn about trees, embroider, and be a flȃneur in her crowded city, Delhi.

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